Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Antoine Wesley, WR of Texas Tech. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
This is a year where we could possibly see a few standout fantasy assets from the third and fourth rounds of rookie drafts. It’s no secret that the class is stacked with talent at the wide receiver position. When the talent pool is deep, there are going to be players who get overlooked and pushed down in the ranks. This will lead to late-round draft picks coming out of nowhere and breaking out, becoming plug-and-play fantasy assets.
Antoine Wesley is someone who could exceed expectations to become one of the more coveted wide receivers in this year’s draft class. Even though he does have some limitations that could prevent him from being one of the top wideouts in the league, there are some traits to his game that could allow him to pop at the next level. With that being said, let’s take a look at his rookie profile.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Injuries prevented Wesley from seeing a substantial amount of time on the field. Even if he was healthy, he would have still shared the field with Keke Coutee, Dylan Cantrell, and TJ Vasher. Unfortunately, he only has one year of production on his resume.
During his junior season, he had six games with over 100 receiving yards. He also led the team with 126 targets and averaged 16 yards per target. His best game came in week four, when he caught 13 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns against Houston.
Let’s not beat around the bush. There’s a big fat elephant in the room and that elephant is staring right at Wesley’s breakout age. When everything is said and done, he could be tagged as another one hit wonder. He blew up during his junior season at age 21 and that was the only year where he was able to produce.
Injuries were the main reason he was unable to hit the field and dominate the competition at a younger age. Also, Texas Tech was log-jammed with talent at wide receiver. It’s easy to give him a pass due to him not being able to compete because he was injured. However, his late ascendance is still a major concern.
Like I mentioned earlier, Wesley’s best performance came against Houston last year. This was the most dominant performance of his career. The yardage total from this game accounted for 18.51 percent of his production during his junior season. Against Houston, he saw plenty of work, getting targeted a career-most 18 times in that game. If anything, this game provides a large enough sample to gather an idea of what his game is actually about.
Wesley is definitely not a burner but he has just enough speed to get the job done. He can get deep but he’s rarely going to get behind the defense. His hands are his main asset. He has the innate ability to extend overhead or to either side of his body and pluck the ball out of the air. Contested catch scenarios are where you will see him do his best work. He’s not bothered by a defensive back breathing down his neck or even if there’s a swarm of hands in his way, Wesley is always going to be aggressive at the catch point. He knows how to use his size and length to box out the opposition, putting him in the best position to make the catch. High-pointing the ball is a different issue. He has the ability to leap above defenders to catch the ball at its highest point, but he’s inconsistent with his timing and will often miss his mark on jump balls downfield.
He’s a decent route runner. At Texas Tech, he ran a lot of fades, skinny posts, curls, and hitches. The deeper routes were his bread and butter and he would use shorter routes along the perimeter as his changeup. Wesley didn’t break off many routes over the middle. Therefore, there might be a learning curve to perfect slants, digs and other short-to-intermediate routes. To summarize his route running, he has a few routes that he runs very well, but he’s not a detailed route-runner.
Despite not being the speediest receiver, he is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. His run-after-the-catch ability makes him dangerous in the open field. He has a knack for reading the defender’s momentum and executing the exact time to make his move to slip past the defense. Wesley will never be a threat to score from anywhere on the field, but will get some extra yards after the catch if he can get past the first tackler.
At the combine, Wesley measured in at 6-foot-4 and 206 pounds. It’s been noted that his lanky frame has created issues for many draft scouts. His 79-inch wingspan is very encouraging and ranks in the 89th percentile amongst all wide receiver prospects.
There’s a lot of skepticism concerning his speed and he didn’t help matters when he didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the combine. On tape, it appears he has enough speed to eat up cushion between him and the cornerback, but it’s apparent that he doesn’t have enough speed to burn the defense downfield for long gains.
The rest of the combine was a conundrum of good and bad. First off, his 37-inch vertical ranks in the 71st percentile among wide receiver prospects. It also provides the notion that he has a lot of juice in his legs and has plenty of burst. On the flipside, his dismal 7.07-second three-cone and 4.26 20-yard short shuttle ranked well below average. His workout numbers tell us that he’s a quick-twitch athlete who lacks short area quickness. This also suggests that he struggles at slowing down his footwork to break off routes or make quick turns. This might be one of the reasons why the majority of his route tree resided along the perimeter of the offense.
According to DLF’s Rookie ADP, Wesley is being drafted 44th overall and is falling to the middle of the fourth round. He’s usually the 21st wide receiver off the board. Due to how stacked this draft class is at wide receiver, I don’t see him being a late riser in rookie drafts. Even if he gets drafted into a glamorous situation, I can’t see him getting out of the third round. More than likely, he’s going to be destined to be a late third round pick at best.
There are a lot of talented wide receivers in this year’s draft. Wesley isn’t a special talent but he does some things that could allow him to carve out a role with an NFL team. With him projected to be a late-round pick in the draft, the odds might be stacked against him since draft capital won’t be on his side. Nonetheless, with time and solid coaching, he could develop into a reliable fantasy asset down the road.
Price and who is left on the board will dictate your decision in rookie drafts. His value will be dependent on where he gets selected in the NFL Draft. Considering where he’s falling in rookie drafts, there’s literally no risk, making him a worthwhile selection if you’re a fan of his talents.